Amid the growing wave of banditry and other crimes in some parts of the north, Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello has reiterated his previous position of not negotiating with criminal elements, saying that recent history has shown that criminal gangs Such an official gesture is often exploited to wreak further havoc as a result of the illusion that the government negotiated from a place of weakness.
Bello spoke on Wednesday in Abuja during a breakfast program on national television monitored by our correspondent.
The governor cited a case in which a criminal gang was offered amnesty in the state of Nasarawa after the intervention of a high-ranking politician, lamenting that the group, however, breached its agreement with the government as its members they have continued to terrorize people.
“When we went to the state of Nasarawa for a meeting, it was said that some bandits had repented and that we should grant them amnesty. I said I would never negotiate with bandits or criminals. Not until two weeks later, the head of these bandits that I saw with my naked eyes and his lieutenants returned to the uproar kidnapping, killing and maiming our people, ”he said.
He noted that strong political will was required to address security challenges of any kind and that the actions his administration took in a state plagued with security challenges was to treat perpetrators and their sponsors mercilessly.
Governor Bello added that security is not only the responsibility of the Nigerian army, police and other security officers, but also community ownership should be instilled to facilitate people’s trust and active participation in their own safety and protection, in particular intelligence sharing.
He said; “What we did in the state of Kogi was to make sure that citizens owned the security architecture and worked with the defense, security and intelligence service to provide them with information.”
According to Bello, the decision of the North Central Governors Forum to establish military barracks at conflict points within their states was in an attempt to further strengthen the effective security architecture existing in the region, adding that such barracks would be a place of designated training for military operations from where special forces could easily be deployed for operations.
The governor claimed that it was common practice for politicians running for political office to hire the services of thugs to help intimidate their opposition, adding that when the political season was over these people were often abandoned by their employers.